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HELP Committee Negotiators Seek To Revise Health Care IT Bill

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Health Care IT Bill

SenateHealth, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee negotiators seek to revise a healthcare information technology bill to address concerns from physician groupsabout a provision that would establish a physician rating system based onfederal claims data, CongressDaily reports.

According to a senior Republican aide, negotiators seek to revise the ratingsystem to adjust for patient risk factors before public release of the ratings.In addition, negotiators seek to involve health care providers in thepreparation of quality measurement reports to ensure that they account forpatient risk factors, the aide said.

A coalition of 36 physician groups, such as the American Medical Association, on Nov. 9 sent a letter tosenators that said the use of federal claims data would result in an inaccuraterating system. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons sent a similar letter to senatorson Nov. 13. The physician groups recommended a rating system based on clinicaldata.

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John Hedstrom, assistant director of government relations for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, said that the proposed revisions areinadequate because federal claims data do not allow for adjustment for patientrisk factors and are "rife with inaccuracies."

Michael Hogan, director of government relations for the group, added,"Billing data won't tell you whether the patient has diabetes or manyclinical risk factors that make them difficult patients, and the doctors thattreat the sickest patients get punished for it."

Negotiators by next month hope to complete the proposed revisions -- which havesupport from the Service Employees InternationalUnion, AARP andhealth care companies -- and move the bill to the Senate floor for approval byunanimous consent (Edney, CongressDaily, 11/26).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.